French Books USA: Week in Review

September 15, 2016 | By Jeremy Albet

Fall Publishing Season in France

The Fall publishing season in France called the ‘Rentrée Littéraire’ is busy as usual with no less than 560 French and translated novels to be published from mid-August to October. It is still less than last year which counted 589 books. The number of translated works remains the same with 197 publications this fall against 196 last year, while the number of new French novels is lower, with 363 books this year against 397 in 2015.

Each year the beginning of fall goes hand in hand with the release of lists of nominees for most French illustrious Literary Prizes, including the Prix Goncourt, the Prix Médicis and the Prix Renaudot.

The prestigious Prix Goncourt revealed its first of three lists of contenders with sixteen titles.

Natacha Appanah ‘Tropique de la violence’ (Gallimard)
Metin Arditi ‘L’enfant qui mesurait le monde’ (Grasset)
Magyd Cherfi ‘Ma part de Gaulois’ (Actes Sud)
Catherine Cusset ‘L’Autre qu’on adorait’ (Gallimard)
Jean-Baptiste Del Amo ‘Règne animal’ (Gallimard)
Jean-Paul Dubois ‘La Succession’ (L’Olivier)
Gaël Faye ‘Petit Pays’(Grasset)
Frédéric Gros ‘Les Possédées’ (Albin Michel)
Ivan Jablonka ‘Laëtitia ou la fin des hommes’ (Seuil)
Régis Jauffret ‘Cannibales’ (Seuil)
Luc Lang ‘Au commencement du septième jour’ (Stock)
Laurent Mauvignier ‘Continuer’ (Minuit)
Yasmina Reza ‘Babylone’ (Flammarion)
Leila Slimani ‘Chanson Douce’ (Gallimard)
Romain Slocombe ‘L’affaire Léon Sadorski’ (R. Laffont)
Karine Tuil ‘L'Insouciance’ (Gallimard)

The second and third round will take place on October 4th and 17th and the successor of last year’s winner ‘Boussole’ by Mathias Enard will be revealed on November 3rd.

NY Times Book Review dedicates Short List to French lit

The August 12th Sunday New York Times Book Review dedicated its shortlist to four of the most anticipated novels to be translated from the French this year: One Hundred Twenty-One by Michèle Audin, translated by Christiana Hills and published by Deep Vellum, Constellation by Adrien Bosc, translated by Willard Wood and published by Other Press, Abahn Sabana David by Marguerite Duras, translated by Kazim Ali and published by Open Letter, and Mon Amie Américaine by Michèle Halberstadt, translated by Bruce Benderson and published by Other Press. Reviewer Nancy Kline noted that One Hundred Twenty-One Days’s featured an “elegant translation of Audin’s rich, tragic, yet playful novel” and praised the historical Constellation as “ ‘Zero Hour!’” as written by a young French intellectual.”

Edouard Louis in Lit Hub’s European wunderkinds

In LitHub, Anne Farsethas spotlights Edouard Louis, author of the hit novelistic memoir The End of Eddy Bellegueule, published in France when Louis was just 19 and to be published in the US in June 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, as one of three major young European writers, along with Yahya Hassan and Athena Farrokhzad, engaged in identity politics. “A new Europe is taking form in literature,” writes Farsethas, “one that reflects the continent’s diversity, and the growing pains that come along with it. This new generation of writers is reshaping the old idea of the artist as political activist”

Along with the article is a standalone memoir piece from Louis, translated by Linda Coverdale, in the latest issue of the literary magazine, Freeman’s Journal. The piece is Louis’s personal account on an event when he purposefully provoked a dispute between his parents, which led to his brother fighting, almost killing their father. “But I wanted to look. Because I was the one who’d provoked this fight between my father and my brother, I’d wanted it. It was revenge”. The piece reflects on the moral and physical pains one can experience or witness when subjected to family issues. “The family is a curse, and like all curses it arouses passions in you that are not your own”. Read more of Edouard Louis’ moving essay

Festival America

The 8th edition of Festival America in Vincennes, where about fifty writers from the United States came to promote the richness and diversity of American literature, was marked by a strong interest in politics among the discussions and exchanges going around with the 15th anniversary of 9/11 and the upcoming presidential elections in November. The festival once again participated to the strengthening of Franco-American relations with an improvement in attendance from 2014, when more than 36,000 visitors were present.

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